Types of Tangerines | Tangerine Varieties
Tangerines are a variety of the Mandarin orange. The many different types of Mandarin oranges are often mistaken for each other. Other varieties in the Mandarin family include tangelos, clementines, and Satsumas.
There are several varieties of tangerines in wide production today.
The Fairchild variety is a cross between a clementine and a tangelo. The skin color is deep orange.
The Honey (formerly called Murcott) variety is a cross between a tangerine and an orange. The skin color ranges from yellow to orange.
The Sunburst variety has a deep reddish orange skin color and, unlike many tangerine varieties, has a smooth skin.
The Robinson variety has a deep orange skin color and is very sweet.
The Fallglo variety is larger than other tangerines and is deep orange in color.
The Dancy variety (often referred to as the kid glove orange or the zipper skin tangerine) is one of the oldest and was at one time one of the most popular types of tangerine. It originated in 1867 in Florida. It is no longer widely produced, in part because it is highly susceptible to disease.
Whichever type of tangerine you choose, you’ll be reaping the incredible health benefits of this delicious fruit.
Tangerine Tree Varieties
Tangerine trees come in standard, dwarf, dwarf-mini, semi-dwarf, patio standard and standard bushy types. Dwarf and dwarf-mini types are perfect for containers and can be kept to less than 3 feet in height and width. The trees’ major distinguishing factors are the tangerines themselves, which have a distinctive taste and are simple to peel. Tangerine varieties range from tart to sweet and seedless to seedy.
The first Dancy tangerine tree seedling came to Florida in 1867 from Morocco. Dancy is a zipper-skin variety associated with the holiday season because it ripens in mid- to late December. Dancy’s skin is so tender and easily broken that the fruit is clipped from the trees to avoid tearing. A Dancy tangerine tree produces a large crop of fruit that does not keep well on the tree and is not easily shipped.
Technically a tangelo, Minneola is also known as Honeybelle. It is a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine. Easily recognizable by its bell shape and neck on the stem end, it is known for its juiciness and sweetness. Fruit is available from November to January. The Minneola tangerine tree needs cross pollination to produce fruit.
Believed to be a hybrid of a tangerine and a sweet orange, Murcott tangerines are one of the sweetest varieties. They are also known as Honey tangerines. Available from January to March, the small fruits can have up to 20 seeds. The Murcott tangerine tree bears a large crop on alternate years. Murcott is popular with home growers and is an important commercial variety.
The tangelo ( C. reticulata × C. maxima or C. × paradisi), Citrus × tangelo, is also widely known as the honeybell. Tangelo is a citrus fruit that is a hybrid of a tangerine and either a pomelo or a grapefruit. The fruits are the size of an adult fist and have a tangerine taste, but are very juicy, to the point of not providing much flesh but producing excellent and plentiful juice. Tangelos generally have loose skin and are easier to peel than oranges. They are easily distinguished from oranges by a characteristic “nipple” at the top of the fruit.
Varieties of tangelos
This early maturing tangelo is noted for its juiciness, mild and sweet flavor, and flat-round shape with a characteristic knob and large size. California/Arizona tangelos have a slightly pebbled texture, good interior and exterior color, very few seeds, and a tight-fitting rind. Orlando tangelos are available from mid-November to the beginning of February. It originated as a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine. W. T. Swingle of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is credited with creating the hybrid in 1911. When the Orlando tangelo was first cultivated, it was known by the name Lake tangelo. The trees of this variety grow to a large size and are easily recognized by their cup-shape leaves. Orlando tangelos are recognized as being one of the more cold-tolerant varieties.
The Minneola tangelo (sometimes misspelled “Mineola”) is a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a Dancy tangerine, and was released in 1931 by the USDA Horticultural Research Station in Orlando. It is named after Minneola, Florida. Most Minneola tangelos are characterized by a stem-end neck, which tends to make the fruit appear bell-shaped. Because of this, it is also called the Honeybell in the gift fruit trade, where it is one of the most popular varieties. The fruit is usually fairly large, typically 9 – 9½ inches in circumference. The peel color, when mature, is a bright-reddish-orange color. The peel is relatively thin, so the fruit peels easily. It is quite juicy. The Minneola is not strongly self-fruitful, and yields will be greater when interplanted with suitable pollenizers such as Temple tangor, Sunburst tangerine, or possibly Fallglo tangerine. It tends to bear a good crop every other year. The fruit matures in the December-February period, with January being the peak. Many farmers feed Minneola to their crops as an alternative for harmfull anti-pesticides. Most plants have a natural capability of consuming Minneolas fast and the various vitamins in Minneolas contribute to the health of these plants.
One study so far has shown that, unlike grapefruit, interactions with statins are not likely with tangelos, even though it is derived from a grapefruit crossed with a tangerine. It seems that the furocoumarins in grapefruit are not expressed in tangelos, so some reactions are temporary.